By: Namish Modi (he/him)

Leaders in the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) team are looking to further enhance research in work-integrated learning (WIL) by participating in a seminar hosted by an American education institution.

The Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) at Elon University is holding the 2022-2024 Research Seminar on Work Integrated Learning (WIL). The three-year research seminar, hosted by the North Carolina private institution, facilitates multi-institutional research on WIL (internships, field placements, co-ops, student teaching).

Elon is a mid-sized private university which is renowned for its national model on engaged leadership. Students work closely with faculty who are dedicated to teaching and scholarship.

Judene Pretti, director of Business Services in CEE is one of the leaders of the CEL seminar.

At the Seminar, scholars like Pretti will join collaborators to investigate how WIL fosters students learning, how to improve access to it and how students might integrate WIL with other learning experiences.

“One of the things that drives me in my career is always learning new things,” says Pretti. 
“What I love about research is not only learning new things through findings that are uncovered, but also learning from others. When I have had the opportunity to collaborate with others in the
Co-op/WIL space nationally and internationally, I always learn more about what makes Waterloo’s programs unique.”

Pretti is interested in exploring key WIL research questions.

“Through multi-institutional research, we will have the opportunity to uncover findings that will be more generalizable than it would be if it was research done at just one school.”

Judene Pretti, director of CEE Business Services

Pretti believes taking part in global leadership opportunities like this is important, as it is tied to two key areas of CEE’s Strategic Plan — global leadership and research excellence.

“Doing this kind of research enables us to understand the similarities and differences between ours and other programs. And for us to promote the great work that is happening in Waterloo,” Pretti says.

Along with her co-leader CJ Eubanks Fleming, an associate professor of Psychology at Elon University, Pretti will lead the seminar. CEE staff members David Drewery and Anne Fannon are among the other seminar participants including WIL researchers and staff from other institutions.

For the next three years, participants will meet at Elon University campus to develop and plan multi-institutional research projects that enhance WIL research.  In year 2, results are shared. In year 3, participants share year 2 results and plan continuations of their work.

Drewery, an associate director of Waterloo’s Work-Learn Institute (WxL) is interested in understanding the contributions of WIL to the development of lifelong learners and what such development means for organizations and individuals.

Fannon, director of the WxL, is interested in research related to preparing WIL participants for equitable and high-quality WIL.